Elon Musk says Tesla will come to India "as soon as humanly possible"

Indian Tesla

() — Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Tuesday that the company is looking to invest in India “as soon as humanly possible,” following a meeting with that country’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New York.

“[Modi] he really cares about India because he’s pushing us to make significant investments in India, which is something we intend to do. We’re just trying to find the right time,” Musk told reporters.

“I am confident that Tesla will be in India and will do so as soon as humanly possible,” he said, without specifying a timetable. Musk said that he tentatively plans to visit India next year.

Musk’s push into the Indian market has been long in the making. In 2017, the CEO said that Tesla planned to sell cars in India as early as that summer.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Tesla CEO Elon Musk during their meeting in New York City, USA, on June 20, 2023. (Credit: Information Office of India Press/Reuters)

But that plan has been delayed due to Tesla’s efforts to negotiate lower import tariffs with the local government. Musk tweeted in 2021 that Tesla wanted to enter India, “but the import duties are the highest in the world by far of any large country.”

Tesla had tried to lower the tariffs, but the Indian government reportedly wants the company to build cars locally before considering any tax breaks, according to Reuters.

On Tuesday, Musk said he had a “fantastic meeting” with Modi and is “incredibly excited about the future of India.”

“[Modi] he really wants to do the right thing for India. He wants to be open, he wants to show solidarity with companies. And obviously, at the same time, making sure that it accumulates to the benefit of India,” Musk said.

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Tesla’s business in Asia

Tesla currently has a gigafactory in Asia, located in Shanghai. The Shanghai factory is Tesla’s largest auto manufacturing plant outside the United States, accounting for more than half of Tesla’s global deliveries in 2022.

Last month, Musk said at an event that the company would likely choose a location for a new Tesla factory by the end of the year and that India was an interesting option, Reuters reported at the time.

Both China and India have been trying to attract global investment in EVs and boost the EV industry.

China announced on Wednesday that it would extend tax breaks for consumers buying new energy vehicles, including battery electric cars, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell vehicles, until 2027, in its latest effort to boost sales and production. in the world’s largest electric vehicle market. Current policy allows exemption from renewable energy vehicle (NEV) purchase taxes until the end of 2023.

The tax exemption is estimated to reach 520 billion yuan ($72.3 billion) between 2024 and 2027, Xu Hongcai, vice finance minister, said at a press conference in Beijing on Wednesday.

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The move follows a State Council meeting earlier this month, during which senior officials said they would study policies to promote NEV development and optimize tax exemption.

From May 30 to June 1, Musk made his first visit to China since the pandemic, meeting with a number of government officials to discuss electric vehicle development and Tesla’s operations in the country.

He also visited the Shanghai gigafactory, thanking the workers and saying they make the “highest quality” Tesla cars in the world, with the “most efficient production.”

Before leaving, Musk also met with Chen Jining, the head of the Shanghai Communist Party, who encouraged him to boost investment and operations and “bring more new products, new technologies and new services” to the city, according to a statement. of the government.

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